The Theme of the Cat's Cradle

             Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle, one of the century's greatest anthropological works, deals with religion, science, and the end of the world; its major theme involves the symbolic nature of the title of the book. The theme of the cat's cradle is used throughout the book to represent many of the truths, as viewed by Vonnegut, that are found in society. A cat's cradle is essentially a game played by all ages and almost all nationalities; "Even the Eskimos know it"(Cat's Cradle 114). It is a game using an endless string, a loop, six feet in circumference, which is wound, looped, or strung between the hands of the players. It symbolically and historically is used to represent many things, like stories, or figures like the one figure which is its name sake, the cat's cradle. In actuality it is still, according to Vonnegut, "nothing but a bunch of X's between somebody's hands." (C.C. 114) This in turn gives Vonnegut's definition for many of Man's creations in the world. .

             One of Kurt Vonnegut's major areas of examination or ridicule in Cat's Cradle is the world's religions. To elaborate on the point of religion, Vonnegut invents his own religion, Bokonism, in which the first essential rule is, according to Bokonon, the character inventor of the religion, that "all of the true things I am about to tell you are shameless lies" (C.C. 14). Bokonon also states, as a warning, at the beginning of his first religious book, "Don't be a fool! Close this book at once! It is nothing but foma(lies)!"(C.C. 177). That is to say that the religion is nothing but lies that he makes up. Bokonon creates the religion for the people of a small Caribbean island called San Larenzo; he then makes it a point that the religion be banned by his friend who runs the Government of the island. This is so the people will be happy and totally content, for by taking part in the religion that all people on the island practice, they partake in a rebellious action and can take the focus from their horribly useless lives.

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